France Jobin and Richard Chartier didn’t waste any energy on sleeve art (look at that minimal white design) or titling (it’s a duo collaboration, called DUO), so that they could pour it all into their music. Minimal on the surface but really incredibly deep, these two artists, working together for the first time, have produced some excellent and immersive sound slabs here. On mAtter.
Vinyl Double LP £29.99 MATTER015
Japanese import 2LP on mAtter. Mastered by Stephen Mathieu, design by Richard Chartier.
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- DUO by France Jobin + Richard Chartier
For much minimalist music, the name or the the artwork can give us some sense of what the artist intended. Steve Reich has been fairly literal in his use of album art, while Julius Eastman’s titles are always striking and evocative. Minimalist composers France Jobin and Richard Chartier meanwhile… have done neither. Their first collaborative project is called DUO, and you’ve probably seen the artwork by now. There is a short quote on a sticker though, which I think is worth repeating in full:
“DUO creates an “intemporelle“ [timeless] and pervading atmosphere, where sounds intermingle within an intricate and delicate system delineated by spatial and temporal boundaries.”
This is what the pair are seeking to achieve. And I think it’s safe to say they have been successful. There is a timelessness to this music. Listening to these lengthy fragments it’s as though the world has stopped, completely unlike Reich’s more momentum based works. And yes, there is atmosphere too. Atmosphere that is thick enough to slice. ‘DUO.1’ is the sound of walking up a mountain in the fog, only to rise above it as you reach the peak. ‘DUO.2’, helpfully the third track, is beautiful. It opens with a body of white noise. Introduced into it, almost like small specks of paint, are chiming sounds which become more and more energetic until they in turn are drowned out by a saw-like tone. Jobin and Chartier let these different sounds play with each other. They feel each other out, feel the space they’re within, before moving on.
This is minimalism at its most tender and kind. Where the work of Reich and his cohort is all about commanding the sounds, on DUO we hear sounds at ease.
What the artist or label has to say for themselves. Read more.